Mueller Examining Whether Trump Sought to Slow Flynn Probe

Donald Trump confirms obstruction of justice probe claiming ‘witch hunt

Roger Stone says President Trump should fire special counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for "wasting the taxpayer's money" in what he called, a "witch hunt" to take down the president. "Witch Hunt", Trump tweeted on Friday morning.

Mr Mueller was appointed as special counsel to investigate Moscow's involvement in the presidential election previous year and possible collusion by Trump campaign associates with the Russians, but there has been no indication that Mr Mueller told the president to fire Mr Comey.

"After 7 months of investigations & committee hearings about my 'collusion with the Russians, ' nobody has been able to show any proof". Grassley's office said the letter is in response to a recent letter from Feinstein requesting that the committee seek details from senior Federal Bureau of Investigation leadership about Comey's interactions with President Donald Trump before he was sacked.

Wednesday's Washington Post article caused a firestorm in the White House on Thursday, particularly because President Trump had been trying so hard to prove that he was not a focus of the Russian Federation investigation.

While the Republican Trump administration initially said Rosenstein's letter was the reason the president fired Comey on May 9, Trump later said he did so because of the "Russia thing".

"He is a man of extraordinary independence and integrity. and great character", Vice President Mike Pence told reporters on Wednesday, noting that the longtime Justice Department official "came to work, sat down and made his recommendation" to fire Comey. "The Department of Justice has a long-established policy to neither confirm nor deny such allegations", Rosenstein's full statement read. He also denied that he asked Comey to utter a loyalty pledge during a private Oval Office meeting before which he asked officials, including Sessions and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, a top White House adviser, to leave the room. According to "sources" in an ABC News report on Friday, the deputy attorney general "has privately acknowledged to colleagues that he may have to recuse himself from the matter, which he took charge of only after Attorney General Jeff Sessions' own recusal".

However, Mueller's investigation is in a relatively early phase, and it is unclear whether criminal charges will be brought when it is complete, USA officials familiar with the matter told The Washington Post on Thursday.

Any of these alternatives would have the same outcome: decision-making authority over Mueller and the Russian Federation investigation would pass into the hands of the third-ranking official in the Department of Justice, Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand, a former Bush administration official who later served as chief counsel for the US Chamber of Commerce.

A Justice Department official - who declined to speak on the record - told CNN that the White House didn't order Rosenstein's statement.

Flynn, dismissed by Trump in February after it emerged he had misled Pence about conversations with the Russian ambassador, is a subject in investigations by intelligence committees in the House of Representatives and Senate, as well as the FBI.

Another sign that the Mueller team will take a "follow the money" approach is the recruitment of Andrew Weissmann, an organised crime expert who oversaw lengthy cases in the USA district court for the eastern district of NY focused on the city's mafia families and their infiltration of Wall Street.

He also has millions of followers on his official Facebook pages.

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